Finding the Cells That Make Regeneration Possible in Tadpoles

in nature •  3 months ago  (edited)


African Clawed Frog, Xenopus laevis, tadpoles have the well-known ability to fully regenerate their tails when damaged, however, there's a two day period during development that they lose this ability. Using this knowledge to their advantage, a team of researchers used a method known as single-cell genomics to map out the cells in the tadpoles' bodies that were activated during the regenerative process, during both the periods when the tail would regenerate and when the regenerative ability was nonfunctional.

Single-cell genomics allows genetic researchers to track the individual genes and tell which have been activated throughout the body of an organism in individual cells. This allows for more exact identification of specific cell types and cellular lineages as the organism's cells are mapped out at multiple levels of development.

Through using the technique, the team was able to discover a new type of epidermal cells, meaning skin cells, that control the regeneration process. The researchers called these cells Regeneration-Organizing Cells, ROCs for short. The cells help direct the rebuilding of the anatomical structures of the tail to the right specifications and are an essential part of the regenerative process. The team hopes that further examination of this mechanism may provide novel paths of research for similar effects in mammals in the future.

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Image: Ribbiting Science

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Nice shot! Thanks for this. They looking much more monster-like than the tadpoles of our frogs here in Germany!

Thank you, African Clawed Frog tadpoles are unique from most other tadpoles in three ways - their catfish like whiskers that they use for sensory input, continuing to eat while absorbing their tails, and for supplementing their gills with air from the surface (those bubbles you see are from them exhaling). You can read a bit on the importance of early lung use by ACF tadpoles in this paper:

Oh fine! Try to include more references like this. Makes it easier for us to support your work.

Thank you!

Wow !! It was a wonderful thing. I didn't know these things before.

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A timely experiment!

wath do they eat?

Once grown into frogs in the wild, small fish, worms, insects. In captivity though, the tadpoles get feed crushed frog food, usually from Xenopus Express or other brands.